Public transports continue to run defying health-safety rules
It is upsetting to note that despite repeated instructions and warnings, most public buses in Dhaka and other big cities are running by openly defying health safety guidelines.
The government allowed mass transport to ply in limited scale from June 1 last year, after more than two months of suspension for countrywide general holidays due to the pandemic. However, transport owners began operating buses at full capacity and returned to pre-Covid fare from September 1 last year. Bus operators were directed to reinstate the pre-pandemic fares and ensure health safety guideline as they restored services in full swing.
Public transport workers were instructed not to carry passengers without face masks and not to board standing passengers. They were also instructed to ensure social distancing while refrain from overcrowding buses. It now appears all attempts went in vain.
The Covid-curse has not left us, and likely to remain for a longer time. And it won't be before February or even March when the mass vaccination programme would commence - until then prevention remains the only cure.
Only issuing government notifications will not work without implementing and monitoring them. And there is hardly any authority to monitor and take action against the violators. That said - we must reflect in the four parties' collective defiance flouting health rules within the public transport sector - owners, drivers, helpers and passengers.
Since all stakeholders are violating government prescribed health and safety guidelines at the same time - it will be challenging to restore discipline in this regard.
According to news reports, all four parties have indulged in blame games, pointing fingers at one another. As for the passengers, they will have to wear face masks and as for the helpers they must refrain from booking a passage for the passenger without a facemask on. On a simple note, we call on the public transport sector to rigidly follow the "No mask, no service" pre-condition. Following this rule, helpers must sanitise passengers' hands. Finally helpers and passengers together must ensure there is no overcrowding inside the public transport.
The point here, administrators coupled with law enforcers must buckle up efforts to reinstate discipline in our public transports. Lax monitoring has prevailed for too long; traffic sergeants can also play a key role by stopping and inspecting public transports at key points.
Most importantly, we feel, it is crucial to engage mobile courts to regulate and reprimand the health-safety violators in the public transport sector.